I keep waiting. Waiting for the City of Sartell to reveal the plans to replace the skating rink, warming house and outdoor hockey rink that was demolished to make space for the Scheels Athletic Complex.
While the select few of Sartell residents are celebrating this opening of the second sheet of indoor ice, the remainder are left with only hopes that the city council will replace their opportunity to skate and gather with family and friends.
When the first indoor sheet was constructed by the Sartell Hockey Association in 2003, at Pinecone Regional Park, the city constructed a high quality shelter/warming house and an outdoor rink to be used for decades by all residents. It was to be a place for the whole community of all income levels and athletic abilities to come together and skate after school, evenings and weekends. It was to be a place where kids, church and school groups, scouts, youth and families were welcome.
Last year, during the COVID Pandemic, the city unilaterally responded to a request by arena advocates to demolish the community park amenities and move forward with a second sheet of indoor ice. With no community input, the council quickly provided dollars from the remainder of the ½ cent sales tax, park dollars for the next ten years from the golf course lease and city dollars, all totaling over $1.5 million.
Well, City of Sartell, what about the rest of the community? You took these opportunities away. When do the common folk, special needs, and less fortunate individuals get their community skating rinks back? We’re waiting.